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West with the Night by [Markham, Beryl]
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West with the Night Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product Description

From Amazon

One of the most beautifully crafted books I have ever read, with some of the most poetic prose passages I could imagine, such as the following, resonating with a stately and timeless quality so absent in our modern life:
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.
Born in England in 1902, Markham was taken by her father to East Africa in 1906. She spent her childhood playing with native Maruni children and apprenticing with her father as a trainer and breeder of racehorses. In the 1930s, she became an African bush pilot, and in September 1936, became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

From Library Journal

Markham's West with the Night was originally published in the early 1940s and disappeared, only to be rediscovered and reprinted in the 1980s when it became a smash hit. This latest incarnation is a lavishly illustrated edition. Though Markham is known for setting an aviation record for a solo flight across the Atlantic from East to West-hence the title-she was also a bush pilot in Africa, sharing adventures with Blor Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton of Out of Africa fame. Hemingway, who met Markham during his safari days, dubbed the book "bloody wonderful."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9200 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (Aug. 14 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008NVZF5S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,450 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mere moments have passed since I closed the back cover on "West with the Night", and already I am missing its world and its voice. It is one of those rare books that can, with the simple fluidity of its narrative, pull you in and engulf you entirely.
I am not a big fan of the memoir, but Markham's (or whoever wrote it) voice is neither bombastic nor humble; she feels less a narrator or subject than a fellow traveller, along with you for the ride. Although the life she lived was extraordinary and compelling, she refreshingly views it in clipped, casual, careful terms, as unimpressed with herself as if she'd been a midwestern housewife, not a pilot and horse trainer in Colonial Africa.
Many readers will approach "West with the Night" out of a pre-existing interest in and knowledge of its era and characters, and will no doubt experience it entirely differently than I did. While a few names rang vague bells, for the most it was an engaging introduction. But I read it as literature, not as history, and enjoyed it immensely as such. I found her small personal anecdotes far more interesting than the accounts of her grand feats. The Atlantic flight that made her famous rounds out the end of the book, but is rather dry and dull compared to her African tales. Stories such as her father's pompous parrot had me in spasms of public giggles.
It is little wonder that Hemmingway praised this book, as the sparse directness of its utilitarian prose makes even the Old Man of the Sea seem a flowery romantic. Its structure can be rather meandering, but in that regard it resembles the contours of memory, which makes me believe Markham did indeed write her own book.
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Format: School & Library Binding
Taken to Kenya at age three, in 1905, Beryl Markham was raised on a farm by her father and a much-hated governess - her mother soon re-abandoned pioneer life for England. And while other girls were groomed to be ladies of society, she learned to ride and train horses, played with the Nandi boys living on her father's land and went hunting with their fathers. Barely 19, she became a professional racehorse trainer; at age 24 (1926) her mare Wise Child won the prestigious St. Leger, beating the odds and the favorite, Wrack, likewise initially trained by Beryl but taken from her weeks earlier by an owner distrusting her experience. After marrying and divorcing again wealthy Mansfield Markham, whose last name she kept, she met pioneer aviator Tom Black (later pilot to the Prince of Wales), who awakened her interest in flying and soon became her instructor. Having obtained her B license - "a flyer's Magna Carta" - Markham operated a taxi and cargo service out of Nairobi and worked as a scout for professional hunters like author Karen Blixen's (Isak Dinesen's) (ex-)husband Baron Bror Blixen. After her return to England, in 1936 she became the first pilot to successfully cross the Atlantic from east to west, against the headwinds. (She didn't reach New York, as planned - technical difficulties forced her plane into a Nova Scotia bog - but her achievement created substantial headlines regardless.) After being lured to Hollywood by a film project involving her flight, and marrying and divorcing again the man who later claimed this book's authorship, writer Raoul Schumacher, Markham ultimately returned to Kenya and to racehorse training. No less than six of her horses won Kenya's East African Derby, making her a local celebrity of considerable note. She died in 1986.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The rule is, I found, that females can't write. I am staying away from what my own gender writes. Beryl Markham is a wonderful exception to my rule. Ernest Hemingway felt dwarfed by the authoress.
Beryl wrote in 1936, and Africa were she grew up was obviously different than now. She describes first hand encounters with lions and elephants, very interesting observations on animal behavior. She also describes the natives, and I wished she would have even gotten more into them. I love her philosophy on life and often I got the feeling she is writing right now, not 70 years ago. A great book for people curious about Africa! Put it into your collection, because you want to read it again!
Addendum April 30, 2004: After writing the above review I have learned from the biography "The Lives of Beryl Markham" by Errol Trzebinski that Beryl did not write "West with the Night", but her third husband Raoul Schumacher, a Hollywood ghostwriter.
Addendum June 15, 2004: I read "The Splendid Outcast" and in the Introduction, Mary S. Lovell, who wrote another biography on Beryl and knew her personally, does not doubt the authorship is genuine Beryl Markham.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Life and love, hardship and adventure, romance and history - all beautifully woven into a delightful autobiography of an unlikely heroine. The daughter of a poor white farmer trying to eke out a living in untamed and uncharted Africa, Beryl Markham rose from very humble beginnings to become a successful horse trainer, bush pilot, and the first person to fly east-to-west across the Atlantic from England. Her fantastic life seems to be one adventure after another, coincidentally commingled with the lives of Isak Dinesen (the author and heroine of "Out of Africa") and Denys Finch Hatton (played by Robert Redford in the movie, OOA). On this level alone, that of an adventure-packed historical tale, this book is compelling. But the absolute poetry of the narrative makes it inescapable.
Ms. Markham's inimitable flair for description and metaphor are enchantingly powerful. One could truly open the book to any random page and find a treasure. No previous knowledge of plot or precedence would be vital to the enjoyment. That such extraordinary prose also reveals an incredible life provides a rich dividend. Savor the following corsage randomly plucked from the bouquet:
"Arab Ruta... is of the tribe that observes with equal respect the soft voice and the hardened hand, the fullness of a flower, the quick finality of death. His is the laughter of a free man happy at his work, a strong man with lust for living. He is not black. His skin holds the sheen and warmth of used copper. His eyes are dark and wide-spaced, his nose is full-boned and capable of arrogance.
"He is arrogant now, swinging the propeller, laying his lean hands on the curved wood, feeling an exultant kinship in the coiled resistance to his thrust.
"He swings hard.
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